Now and Zen: A Cragsmoor Art Experience

Posted 5/15/19

Cragsmoor is celebrating its rich history as one of the earliest art colonies in the country with a weekend of inspiring events at the Historical Society’s restored 1910 building in the former …

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Now and Zen: A Cragsmoor Art Experience

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Cragsmoor is celebrating its rich history as one of the earliest art colonies in the country with a weekend of inspiring events at the Historical Society’s restored 1910 building in the former Federated Church on May 18 and 19.

Building upon the realization that its location on the Shawangunk Ridge has a magic which has called to creative people since the late 1870s. Now and Zen is designed to demonstrate the continuity of that spirit through the works of the earliest artists to their contemporary counterparts.

The main meeting room will feature masterworks by the turn-of-the-century founding artists, including Charles C. Curran, E.L. Henry, Helen Turner, Eliza Greatorex, George Inness, Jr., and Arthur I. Keller. A special feature of the exhibit will be a re-creation of Curran’s painting studio. Many of these paintings will generously be on loan from the private collection of Ron Berg.

Works by contemporary artists will be displayed in the community room. Among them will be pieces by Phil and Judy Sigunick, who were leaders of a renaissance in the 1970s, when a group of young artists rediscovered Cragsmoor. At the same time, Kaycee Benton, who became an expert on the earlier artists and raised international recognition of their work, also helped organize the first annual exhibitions for the Cragsmoor Free Library. Benton and the Sigunicks will be honored at this event for their contribution to the arts in Cragsmoor.

The festivities will open on Saturday evening, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. with an elegant reception offering champagne and deluxe hors d’oeuvres. Tickets for this gala event are $75 per person and can be purchased on the Eventbrite site or by check directly to the Cragsmoor Historical Society, P.O. Box 345, Cragsmoor, NY 12420.

The celebration continues on Sunday, May 19, from 10 a.m until 4 p.m. The highlight of the day will be a presentation at noon by Tom Wolf, Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at Bard College, whose main areas of study are the Woodstock, New York art colony and Asian American artists. His topic will be “Women Artists in Cragsmoor and Woodstock at the Turn of the 20th Century.” On this day, the exhibit and presentation will be free and open to the public. Coffee and bagels will be served at noon.

Every detail of the former Federated Church, from the basement to the belfry, has been pristinely restored to its 1910 condition. Under the dedicated guidance of project director Larry Gobrecht and his team of skilled craftsmen, the restoration was undertaken with patience and loving care. The final product is a building that is a key structure in the Cragsmoor Historic District. It can now look forward to another century of housing the Society’s archives and providing a beautiful space for public and private events.

The public is invited to celebrate this outstanding accomplishment and to revel in the beauty of Cragsmoor art. The Historical Society is at 349 Cragsmoor Road next to the library. Information atcragsmoorhistoricalsociety.com msocolof@gmail.com or 702-400-8253.

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